Moonpig: when love turns sour

Jo Francis
Friday, February 15, 2013

Reputation management is the topic du jour for Jo Francis, due to events sweeping the food industry.

Now a crisis of this nature has arrived at the doorstep of one of our own, due to the fact that time-critical goods have not arrived at the doorstep of customers. I refer to Moonpig, and, gulp, Valentine’s Day.

It is stating the obvious to say that if you’re the market leader in personalised greetings cards the 14th February must be THE big day in the calendar year. Moonpig had, naturally enough, been pushing its Valentine’s offering hard. I had received no less than 11 promotional emails urging me to order in one way or another.

This morning Moonpig published the following apology on its Facebook page: AN APOLOGY TO OUR CUSTOMERS Although the majority of your orders were delivered and received efficiently yesterday, a number of you did not have the same experience and we are striving to ensure this is rectified. Therefore we want to start by issuing this apology to ALL our Customers who had problems affecting their orders. Various elements contributed to each case, however we fully accept ourpart in this and want to assure each and every one of you that we are dealing with your queries as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Through the mediums of Social Media, in addition to other methods, we are ensuring the team is working to respond to each query fairly and with the attention each deserves. If you do not receive a response within a few minutes of posting/tweeting, please note we are certainly not ignoring you, we are just ensuring previous enquiries are being dealt with first. We are committed to resolving any issues to your satisfaction and want you to realise that we are deeply sorry for any unnecessary stress this may have caused. Thank you for your continued patience.

Something seems to have gone horribly wrong. From what I can gather from the storm of complaints on Facebook and Twitter, this isn’t a “printing error” thank goodness. It seems to be more to do with matching up cards with other items such as flowers and balloons (something I’ve often wondered about, viz the logistics of this business), and then effecting the necessary delivery schedule.  

The quality of flowers that did arrive is coming in for stick too – oh the perils of dealing with perishables. Many of the comments are wince-inducing indeed, and the company’s delivery partner is on the end of some serious flak as well.

Moonpig’s customer service team seem to be struggling to cope, which isn’t helping dampen the wrath. Ouch, ouch and thrice ouch.

As #fails go, this is a biggie.

Until this morning, I’d envisaged the virtual tills at Moonpig Mansions overflowing with cash this week. Now it looks like there’ll be a serious cash outflow in refunds, and goodness knows how many lost customers, judging by the amount of “will never use again” comments.

Managing director Iain Martin will be wishing he hadn’t done this interview with CNN, talking about dos and don’ts of the big day.

Memo to Iain: do deliver what was promised, on time.

Lots of people have ambitions to be “the next Moonpig”. This is a salutary lesson in how being a high-profile brand results in high-profile problems when things go wrong. And oh, how quickly love can turn to hate.    

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